Basic Difference between WORLD WIDE WEB & The INTERNET

Most of us think that the Internet and World Wide Web (WWW) are one and the same, but there are some key differences between them. To understand the basics, let us dive into a teeny-weeny history.


Your first question might be, ‘Who invented the Internet?’ There is no ‘boss‘ of the internet because it was a combined effort of many visionaries, computer scientists, engineers and pioneers in communication technology. But the seed of the internet was planted by Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider (was a professor at MIT) in early 1960s. He introduced the concept of ‘Intergalactic Computer Network’ which covered all the important aspects of internet as we know today. This idea led to the establishment of ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) developed by ARPA of the United States Department of Defense. ARPANET was the building block of today’s internet.

The first ever communication between two computers was done with the help of ARPANET on October 29, 1969. The first message on ARPANET was sent through a host computer at UCLA to another computer at Stanford. And the message was “LOGIN”. But on the first trial, the system could only send two letters (L and O) before the system ‘crashed‘. On the second attempt, they were successful in transmitting the word ‘LOGIN’.

An IMP log excerpt kept at UCLA that describes setting up a message transmission from the UCLA SDS Sigma 8 host computer to the SRI SDS 940 host computer. The initials “CSK” to the right stand for Charles S Kline. Source:- EDN

World Wide Web

Tim Berners Lee. Source:- CERN

World Wide Web is a collection of websites and webpages linked to each other via Hyperlinks using Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). Tim Berners-Lee founded World Wide Web(WWW) in 1989 with his colleagues at CERN. When he submitted his original proposal “Information Management: A proposal” to his boss, Mike Sendall, his boss wrote the following words on the proposal, “Vague but exciting.”

Tim’s initial proposal. Source: CERN

Thenafter, Tim wrote three fundamental technologies:

  • HTML (HyperText Markup Language) : The markup (formatting) language for the web.
  • URL (Uniform Resource Locator) : A kind of “address” that is unique and used to identify to each resource on the web. It is also commonly called a URL.
  • HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) : Allows for the retrieval of linked resources from across the web.

In 1990, first ever webpage was released on the internet and in 1991 it was open for public. The first webpage still exists today. You can check out the first webpage here.

Difference between World Wide Web & the Internet

From what we saw earlier, it is clear that INTERNET existed way before World Wide Web was founded. Internet is a huge network of computers and mobile devices while World Wide Web is a service which can be accessed via the Internet.

Internet is a ‘network of networks‘. If your smartphone is connected to your PC and your PC is connected to various other computers, then the system is called Internet. File Transfer from your phone to your computer or vice-versa is also an Internet system. If you send an email or text a message to someone, you are not necessarily using the Web. Even satellites are connected to the Internet. The apps you use on your smartphone are a part of the Internet and not the World Wide Web. Whether you connect your smartphone to air conditioner, smartwatch, LED bulbs, TV, computers or even to your WiFi, it’s all Internet.

On the other hand, the blog that you are reading right now is a part of the World Wide Web accessed via your smartphone/computer which is connected to the Internet. World Wide Web is not the only system which is accessed via the Internet. Also, a specific URL is needed to surf the Web. The World Wide Web is a collection of websites and webpages which are linked to each other in such a way that it resembles a Web which is much bigger than you think.

That’s all for now. See you soon in the next blog post. Stay safe.

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